Santiago de Compostela
Vila de Cruces
Navigating to the west is one of the greatest adventures on the Galician coast. There are Galician islands, and these are their names: Cíes, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada. Archipelago with waters so turquoise and sands so white that they evoke sand Caribbean beaches... "until you put a finger in the water". This is stated as a merit by The Guardian newspaper, as it considers the Rodas beach in the Cíes the best in the world. Cold water with the best ocean properties for marine life and unique stories of sunken wrecks.
With the ship of the estuary of Vigo one reaches the outline of three islands that often look like two. They are known as the Cíes because we keep calling them by the Roman nickname for Siccas – the dry islands – although none of them is called this individually. The northern island - or Monteagudo -, and the one in the middle or the Faro - are joined by the ever-so-fine beach of Rodas and a lake that complete the picture of paradise. The southern island – or the San Martiño -, is separated from the others by a channel called Puerta del Mar. The archipelago also reaches a series of islands that are joined underground in a massive seabottom of an enormous and fragile biodiversity, from the microscopic beauty of the prairies of algae to the grandeur of the whales, which are not unusual to spot.
Ons and her sister Onza – or Onceta, and the small island of As Freitosas, close off the estuary of Pontevedra, with a coastline outlined with sandy beaches. By contrast, the part that can't be seen from land is extremely rugged and suitable for the formation of sea caves ("furnas") and reefs. The underwater landscape of this ocean face is formed by vertical walls teeming with life thanks to the upwelling of nutrient-rich deep waters. The inhabitants of this island – currently the only one inhabited in the national park – knew this well, as they were dedicated to fishing, among which the capture of octopus is of great importance.
Sálvora, on the far western edge of the Arousa estuary, with all its constellation of islands laden with seafaring tales and stories such as the small Noro, Vionta and Sagres, is the total reserve on the seabed and on the surface. Just as in the aforementioned Cíes and Ons, the passage of man has left the existence of human buildings designed for religious (chapels, altar or church), civil (lighthouses), military (forts) and industrial uses. In Sálvora, the salting factory became a manor house with two towers, and we also find a village with a lovely traditional look, with eight granaries and a chapel.
Cortegada and nearby Malveiras enjoy the proverbial biological wealth of the inland sea of Arousa. To observe the activity of production, the pier and promenade of Carril offer remarkable shell fishing lessons with its areas for growing clams and cockles. Tides are the only boundary of the island that seems conquerable on foot. Sometimes guided tours are also held, and these – apart from the island's history – also show the plant treasure behind the pine forest represented by the forest of laurel with tress reaching up to twelve metres high.
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